Dutch police said a collision between a freight ship and a passenger boat near Amsterdam capsized the ferry and may have thrown the captain overboard. Emergency services were searching the water for victims.
The collision happened on Friday around 7 a.m.
A German freight ship collided with a passenger ferry in a canal near Amsterdam Friday morning, overturning the smaller boat and apparently throwing the captain overboard, Dutch police said.
Police spokesman Carine Portengen said authorities believe there was at least one person aboard the ferry, which is normally used by commuters, sometimes with their bicycles.
"The first hour is crucial to save someone who is in the water… so the chances are very unlikely that if he (the captain) is in the water that he will be found alive," Portengen said.
Emergency services were using divers and a helicopter with thermal sonar to search the canal for the captain and any other possible victims. The accident shut down shipping traffic in the busy Amsterdam-Rhine canal, a 72-kilometer long waterway that connects Amsterdam with the Rhine River.
It was still dark at the time of the accident, around 7 a.m. local time. Police said they were questioning the captain of the freight boat and that he tested negative for alcohol.
The collision took place near the town of Nieuwer Ter Aa, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Amsterdam.
Author: Andrew Bowen (AP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Nancy Isenson